Israel Guidance

Dear Parents and Talmidim,

Hope all is well, and that the new year brings beracha to all of us.

The onset of the senior year raises issues regarding post-graduation plans, including considering allowing time for Torah study in Israel. For many youngsters, exposure to the kedusha of Eretz Yisrael during one’s most impressionable years serves as a priceless investment in their future.

This handbook will hopefully introduce you to the process and provide you with basic information at the outset that might be helpful. It contains the following material:

Questionnaire:  A suggested list of questions and information you might want to obtain with respect to the Yeshivot and their programs. Much of the information is available on the respective web sites  

Israel Preferences: A form that we use during meetings with students to help focus on their interests.

Israel Yeshiva List And Contact Information:    It does not include each and every Yeshiva attending this evening, but lists the Yeshivot Rambam students have frequented in past years.  Additional information can be found on the YU-CJF website at, “http://yu.edu/israel-program/gis/

Basic Financial Information

General Timetable: A basic timetable for the entire process.

Private meetings with Rabbi Haar begin at the outset of the senior year, and seniors will be encouraged to sign up in order to discuss their future plans.  If parents are interested in attending the meeting, which you are most certainly invited to do, please communicate your intentions to your son so that the appropriate plans can be arranged, or contact me directly .

The annual communal Israel Night Program takes place on November 15th at Rambam, which enables students and parents to meet representatives from Yeshivot, hear their presentations, and engage in discussions about their programs.  There is an additional program at Yeshiva University during their open house on Sunday, November 19th.

If we can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me at the school, 516 371-5824, extension 111, or via e-mail, ahaar@rambam.org.  I am more than happy to meet with you privately if you feel it might be helpful.

Looking forward to working with you.

Thank you,

Rabbi Avi Haar

WHAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW

 History: A short history of the founding of the Yeshiva, its location, and advantages of the location.  Yeshivat Hesder vs. American Yeshiva.

 Hashkafa:  Briefly describe the goal of the Yeshiva.

Attitude Towards Eretz Yisrael:  i.e., does the Yeshiva encourage aliyah?  Moderately, strongly, not discussed.

Shana Bet:  Is there an option for shana bet?  Is discussion initiated by students or Ramim?  When during the year is it presented?  Is it presented as a requisite part of the Program? 

Attitude Towards Secular Studies:  Encourage or discourage college and secular studies; which colleges?

Supervision:  Rebbeim, Mashgiach, Madrich, Kollel members?

Ramim:  Israeli, American, English or Hebrew speaking.

Type of Supervision: Structure vs. self-discipline.  Close supervision, moderate, abundant freedom, allowance for “independent” personal development.

Staff: Rosh Yeshiva, Mashgiach, Ramim, Other (i.e., guidance?)

Students:

Requirements: Grades, tests SAT scores?

Admission Bechina: What precisely is expected from the students?

Level of learning required: Beginner, intermediate, advanced.  Ability to study Gemara independently?

Religious commitment:  Beginner, moderate, strong. 

Knowledge of Hebrew:  Required?  What level?

Population:  Overall # of students. (Including Hesder, Kollel, etc.)

American students: First year #, which cities, most common high schools.

American students: Second year #

Other Nationalities: % from other countries.  Which countries?

Shiur Size:  # of students per shiur, faculty to student ratio

Curriculum:

Seder Hayom: Wake-up, Shacharit, morning seder, free time, etc.

Days: Which days of the week?

Shiurim Offered:  List topics of study, % of time on Gemara, class levels.

Language of Instruction:  Which classes are in Hebrew/English?  Ulpan offered?

Extra-Curricular Activities:

Volunteer programs: Are there chesed programs outside the Yeshiva?  How often?  Are they mandatory/encouraged?

Interaction with Israelis:  How often?  In what venue?

Interaction with Faculty: Opportunity outside the Yeshiva?  How often?  Where?

Special Programs:  Speakers, shiurim, chagigot, etc.

Sports Facilities:  Access to which sports?  Weight room?

Free Time:  What is available during breaks?  Computer/internet access?

Shabbat Policy:  In Shabbos/out Shabbos schedule.  May one remain during an “out” Shabbos with food provision?  # of special Shabbatonim?  Does the Yeshiva provide Yom Tov/Shabbos hosts for the talmidim?

Yom Tov Policy:  Is the Yeshiva open to the students during Chagim? Is food provided?

Trips:  Number of major trips and to where?  Day trips?  How frequent?

Accommodations:

Type:   How many to a room? Who chooses the roommates? Are Americans and Israelis/other nationalities mixed?  Separate Israeli dorm?  Heat/air conditioning in dorms and bet midrash?

Facilities:  Refrigerators or other kitchen appliances permitted in rooms?

Laundry: Is service provided?

College Credit:  Can one earn college credit?    

Tuition and Fees:

 Scholarship:  Are scholarships available? To what degree? Academic?  Financial?

Israel Preferences

Learning topics you prefer:
Gemara bekius
Iyun
Beis medrash prep time
Halacha
Hashkafa
Tanach
Independent study

Miscellaneous  Factors
Location
Large vs. Small program
Hashkafa of the yeshiva
Which high schools frequent the yeshiva
Friends
Dorm facilities
Free time, sports facilities
Food
Israel experience, interaction with israelis, hebrew
Structure vs. Laid back

Name Type Location Website
HAKOTEL  Hesder with American Program  Yerushalyim hakotel.org.il
HAR ETZION-GUSH HESDER with American Program Alon Shevut  haretzion.org
KEREM B’YAVNEH Hesder with American Program Yavneh  kby.org
SHA’ALVIM Hesder with American Program Nof Ayalon shaalvim.org
MEIR HAREL Hesder Modi’in meirharel.org.il
MAALE ADUMIM-BIRKAT MOSHE Hesder Maale Adumim ybm.org.il
MAALE GILBOA Hesder Maale Gilboa maalegilboa.org
AISH HATORAH American Yerushalayim Aish.com
ASHREINU American-AM learning, PM chesed Bit Shemesh ashreinu.org.il
ERETZ HATZVI American Yerushalyim yehatzvi.org
LEV HATORAH American Ramat Beit Shemesh levhatorah.org
MIGDAL HATORAH American Modi’in migdalhatorah.org
NETIV ARYEH American Yeushalayim yna.edu
ORAYTA American Yerushalayim orayta.org
OHR YERUSHALAYIM American Bet Meir yoy.org.il
REISHIT YERUSHALAYIM American Beit Shemesh reishit.org
SHA’AREI MEVASERET ZION American Mevaseret ysmz.org
TORAT SHRAGA American Bayit Vagan toratshraga.com
YISHREI LEV American Kiryat Yearim Yishrei.org
BNEI DAVID Mechina Eli bneidavid.org
OTZEM Mechina Moshav Yated,-Negev Otzem.org

Hesder is a special five year program for Israeli Citizens who desire to combine learning Torah and Army service. Students learn for a year and ten months, serve in the army for a year and four months, and return to the Yeshiva for another year and ten months. Some Hesder yeshivot include an American program, conducting shiurim in Hebrew, and offering opportunities for integration with Israeli mentors as well as students. Some Hesder yeshivot do not offer separate American programs, and the American student will be incorporated immediately into the Israeli program.  Hesder yeshivot will also tend to have larger numbers of students in the entire Yeshiva.  A Mechina, “preparatory”, program prepares high school graduates for serving in the Israeli Army or study at an institution of higher learning in Israel. Most mechina programs last one academic year

Israel Yeshiva Financial Information

Study in Israel most certainly brings with it financial obligations which include:

Application fees: There is a single, joint application for all yeshivot, and the fee is per yeshiva one applies to, with each yeshiva charging amounts ranging from no fee to $125.

Tuition: Approximately $22,000 EXCLUDING air fare

Medical and dental insurance: Approximately $700

Spending money: Seforim, phone, private travel, restaurants.

Below is a listing of the well known financial aid programs, with additional information available on line.  In addition, synagogues on occasion have funds available for Israel study, and from time to time Israel yeshivot will provide financial assistance as well.

  • MASA:  A joint program of the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency, it provides grants as well as financial need scholarships.  For more MASA information, check their web site at www.masaisrael.org
  • The Yeshiva University S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program: Enables you to collect FAFSA and TAP funds should you be eligible for student aid being you are technically enrolled through YU.  Applications should be submitted only after you have applied and been accepted to YU, as well as been accepted to an Israeli Yeshiva.  This information is available in the information booklet distributed at Israel Night, and some additional copies are available in my office.
  • Lander College offers a Touro College Israel Option which requires acceptance to Lander College as well as an Israeli yeshiva.
  • Alisa Flatow Memorial Scholarship: The Alisa Flatow Memorial Scholarship is awarded to high school graduates who intend to study Torah at a yeshiva or seminary in Israel and show academic promise in religious studies.  It is academic as well as need based. They did not offer the scholarship last year so it remains to be seen regarding this year’s plans. The deadline is February 15 each year.
  • Torah Letzion: Torah Letzion provides partial scholarships for select eager and motivated students in need of financial assistance in order to fulfill this dream.  Last year’s deadline was the last day in FEBRUARY.

Israel Yeshiva General Timetable

SEPTEMBER-MID NOVEMBER:

Private meetings for all talmidim with Rabbi Haar

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER:

Israel Yeshivot Visit Rambam

  • Present a shiur
  • Speak about the Yeshiva
  • Meet with students if time permits

Communal Israel Night-November 15th at RAMBAM

MID- LATE DECEMBER:

  • Applications should be submitted –JOINT APPLICATION!!
  • Early-Mid January application deadline

FEBRUARY:

Interviews/bechinot at Rambam

LATE FEBRUARY:

Acceptances

MARCH:

Talmidim have until early March to confirm an acceptance without being pressured for a response.